Chapter 3: My Name is Donatello
My name is Donatello, and I am dead.
I did not die, however, when she came to kill me. Not when she dragged me away, just like she did with Raph and Mike, while Leonardo screamed at her, begging her to take him instead. Not when she drizzled me with kerosene as casually as though she was putting dressing on a salad. Not even when she dropped the match.
No, I died a mere few weeks ago, when my last hope died. It's funny what hope can do, isn't it? It can force you to live, to persevere. Or it can abandon you and leave you to die. I lived for the hope of finding Leonardo and freeing him. I knew things could never be what they were, before … before. But I could steal back some scrap of my family. I could at least have my brother again. This one goal sustained me through the endless searching and the patient planning.
Not to mention the years of hiding. Hiding from everyone—Leatherhead, the Professor, Casey, April. There are benefits to being dead, after all, and I knew better than to let anyone know I was still alive.
At last, I was able to confirm that Leo was indeed still imprisoned by that monster. I pinpointed the room in which he was being held. Carefully I wrote and edited and reedited a computer virus that would bring down the Foot security systems without leaving the barest trace. Oh, yes, I thought of almost everything. I planned out my infiltration of the Saki building with such care and precision that even Leo himself would have been proud. Had he lived to hear of it.
Actually, after executing the rescue, I'd fully intended to show him those plans. Even now, I can picture it perfectly—Leo smiling his reserved smile, shaking his head gently, pointing out the parts of my plan that could have been revised for even more efficiency.
But as I sit in my underground hideout, I do not have Leonardo for company but instead I have her. Not what I bargained for. Not at all. I crouch in a corner and stare bitterly at the katana I managed to find in the Foot's hidden vaults. It lies on the floor in front of me, its broken blade rusted over, the hilt's blue-dyed leather chipped and cracking.
Then, from a few feet away, I hear a moan.
I have always been nothing if not inventive. So, even though I am now dead, I have plotted out a new goal. It won't bring me back to life, but it will give me purpose. At the center of this goal is the woman who is just now waking up.
"Good morning, Karai," I say in greeting. Splinter always had emphasized the importance of good manners.
She moans again before demanding, in a hoarse voice, "Where am I?"
"Somewhere safe. Well, safe for me. At any rate, somewhere you won't be found."
Finally I turn to look at her. Chained in the opposite corner, still groggy from her sedatives, Karai pushes herself to a sitting position. Owlishly she blinks at me. I wait for her to speak, very patiently. I am good at being patient.
"You cannot keep me here," she says at length, in a strangely flat voice. "The Foot will find me."
Standing up, I grab the katana. "You can't find what you don't look for. And I'm afraid no one will be looking for you." I gesture towards the ceiling with the sword. "As far as the topside world is concerned, you're dead."
Just like me. If Raph were still alive, I think he'd appreciate the irony.
Her eyes narrow in anger. "You lie."
I can only shake my head in response. Turning, I pick my way across the cluttered, overcrowded room. A table, some shelves, some chairs covered in clothes, and a small cot all stand in the too-small space. Various small and large electronics projects litter the dirt floor. Though I have lived here for some two years and would never have left my old lab in such disarray, I've never felt a need here to keep things all too tidy. This is not my home. I'm dead; I have no home nor need of one. This is merely my base of operations.
I set the katana down on the table then head towards the small television set perched precariously on top the shelves. The television flashes into garish life as soon as I touch the power button. I slip a cassette tape into the VCR. It's a recording I made yesterday—a special recording for a special guest. As the tape begins playing, I glance back at my captive.
She assumes an indifferent expression, a single eyebrow raised so high that it disappears completely under her jet-black bangs. "And what am I watching?"
"I taped last night's news," I explain conversationally. "I thought you might find it interesting."
On screen, a pretty blonde woman stands in front of the Saki building, holding the obligatory microphone. She very somberly informs us that Ms. Karai Saki, president and majority stockholder of Saki Industries, just passed away. Undiagnosed Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Tragic.
"You truly went before your time."
Her eyes remain on the television screen. After a moment she says, "This is a trick."
"I'm afraid not."
Meanwhile, the reporter continues her report. "Ms. Saki has left all her shares of Saki Industries to her longtime Tokyo associate, Mr. Don Hamato. Also, in a unanimous vote, Mr. Hamato has been elected as the new president of Saki Industries …"
Karai stares intently at the television screen, a low growl starting in the back of her throat. "This cannot be," she whispers, but she sounds much less certain than she had before.
It is amazing what wonders the modern electronic age has wrought. How easy it is now to locate public records. To forge wills. To create phony identities. Not to mention, to take over entire companies. God, but I do love computers.
With a flick of my wrist, I turn off the television. I think we've both seen more than enough.
Next I pick up a watch from the table. Slipping it over my thick fingers, my wide knuckles, my beefy wrist, I take a deep breath. It's almost show time. I reach out and grab the clothes hanging over the back of the nearby chairs. With fastidious care, I pull on the pants, button the shirt, knot the necktie.
Over in her corner, Karai pretends not to watch. I can feel the air hum with her frustration and confusion, however, just as surely as I can smell the faint scent of her perfume. Lilacs, I believe. Lilacs and a hint of jasmine. Once fully dressed, I turn to face my prisoner, and I throw out both arms in an exaggerated gesture. "So! How do I look?"
"Silly" is her succinct, disdainful reply.
She's probably right. But I've already thought of a way to take care of that. I hold up my wrist. The steel of my watch gleams faintly in the dim light. I twist a dial on the watch and, in a sudden flash of blinding light, I am left staring at a pale hand with five fingers and tiny little hairs.
Though this is not the first time I've tested my portable holographic projector, I still marvel at the sight of my seemingly mammalian hand. I had created the device before Karai had captured us. I'd made it for Mikey, intending for it to be his birthday present. At the time, I had invented it with the thought that my brother would enjoy being able to venture topside more often, in the light of day, without layer upon layer of disguise.
But Mike's dead. He died before he got to find out that I was even making the projector.
Karai's eyes go wide with disbelief. Her jaw works furiously, but she doesn't utter a sound.
I pick up the katana from the table, gripping it tightly. Slowly I approach the corner. When I am a few feet away from Karai, just outside of her reach, I stop and kneel. I place the katana, very carefully, very precisely, on the floor in front of her.
"You are going to kill me with Leonardo's sword?" She cocks her head, considering this. Then she nods in approval. "Yes, that is only proper, I suppose."
"Not quite," I clarify. "I'm not going to kill you with Leo's sword. You are." I grin, and it is the first time I've worn any sort of smile in a long time. "I'm going to torture you. I'm going to wear you down. And only at the very end, when you are completely destroyed and begging to die, will I hand you the katana. Only then. Not a moment before."
I stand back up, and Karai glances from me to the katana then back to me. An odd expression—halfway between rage and admiration—crosses her face. "Well played, Donatello."
"Thank you." Reaching up, I adjust the knot on my tie. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a press conference to attend."
Just as I arrive at the door, my hand on the doorknob, her voice calls out to me. "Did you kill him? Did you kill Leonardo?" I glance over my shoulder. She is staring hard at me, a stray tear trickling down her cheek. "Or did he kill himself?"
Fascinating. This response is … absolutely fascinating. I realize, with a sudden burst of cold hard satisfaction, that if I don't answer, the not-knowing will forever gnaw at Karai's sanity. Armed with this awareness, I reply very softly, "You killed him, Karai."
I slip out into the sewer tunnels without further comment, taking care not to step in any of the dirty water. I'd hate to ruin my new suit, after all. That simply wouldn't do. The new president of Saki Industries needs to make a good first impression. Chuckling, I can't help thinking that Karai had been wrong. She had been wrong about many things, but in particular she had had the wrong myth.
I'm not Prometheus. I'm the phoenix.
Author's Notes: Yep, Don's words at the end of last chapter were intentionally reminiscent of SAINW—just can't get enough of that episode, it's so good.
My thanks to those who have read and reviewed. In particular, a quick thanks to ELVESRULE for the suggestion about Chapter 2, which I've revised in light of the critique. I hope everyone has enjoyed this story—well, "enjoy" as much as one can enjoy a story like this, at any rate.
I'm thinking of perhaps adding a sequel to "Eye for an Eye," by the way, and already have a few chapters written. Feel free to leave feedback as to whether you might be interested in reading a sequel, or any other story in this particular universe. (My thanks in advance to those who do leave feedback!)